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Let’s say my commander Teysa Karlov is on the battlefield, ready for action. Then, I sacrifice Resolute Watchdog. What happens? Can I give one or two creatures indestructible?

The relevant details of Teysa and the Watchdog, respectively:

If a creature dying causes a triggered ability of a permanent you control to trigger, that ability triggers an additional time.

1, Sacrifice Resolute Watchdog: Target creature you control gains indestructible until end of turn.

According to my more experienced friend my creatures need to die for Teysa to work. But doesn't sacrificing count as dying too, since they go to the graveyard?


Related:

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Resolute Watchdog's ability is an activated ability not a triggered one, so it isn't affected by Teysa at all.

602.1. Activated abilities have a cost and an effect. They are written as “[Cost]: [Effect.] [Activation instructions (if any).]”

603.1. Triggered abilities have a trigger condition and an effect. They are written as “[When/Whenever/At] [trigger condition or event], [effect]. [Instructions (if any).]”

As an addendum, sacrificing a creature (typically) counts as it dying, so your friend is wrong. So sacrificing a creature could potentially cause Teysa's ability do something.

700.4. The term dies means “is put into a graveyard from the battlefield.”

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    It's true that sacrificing a creature usually causes it to die, but I think it's worth clarifying that an ability that triggers on sacrifice (like Smothering Abomination) will not be affected by Teysa's ability because the dying is not the actual trigger condition. – murgatroid99 Jun 21 at 15:15
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    @murgatroid99 Triggered abilities that are triggered by a sacrifice effect would be doubled, actually. It's Activated abilities with sacrificing the creature as a cost that wouldn't be doubled. An example of effects that would be doubled would be cards with Exploit from the set Dragons of Tarkir. – nick012000 Jun 22 at 9:09
  • No, that's false. See this ruling about reflexive sacrifice triggers and this ruling specifically about exploit triggers. Specifically, this sentence covers what I was saying: "While that involves a creature dying, the creature dying isn’t what’s causing the ability to trigger and thus Teysa won’t intervene and give you a bonus trigger." – murgatroid99 Jun 22 at 17:50
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    More to the point, a Gatherer ruling on Teysa Karlov says "An ability that triggers on an event that causes a creature to die doesn’t trigger twice. For example, an ability that triggers 'whenever you sacrifice a creature' triggers only once." – murgatroid99 Jun 23 at 0:47
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Magic the Gathering defines the word "dies' as rule 700.4 in the Comprehensive Rules:

700.4 The term dies means “is put into a graveyard from the battlefield.”

So you are correct, sacrificing a creature does meet the condition for that creature dying, as does lethal damage, destroy effects, and 0 toughness. However there's a difference between an ability triggering and an ability being activated, in the case of Resolute Watchdog, you have an activated ability, those abilities are written "Cost:Effect" in this case:

{1}, Sacrifice Resolute Watchdog(cost): Target creature you control gains indestructible until end of turn.(effect)

Triggered abilities are written a different way, they are written "When (condition), (effect)" A good example from that set would be the keyword Afterlife X which is written:

When this creature dies(condition), create X 1/1 white and black Spirit creature tokens with flying.(effect)

Teysa would cause Afterlife to trigger a second time, so afterlife 2 with Teysa on the board would leave you with 4 new 1/1 spirits.

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The rulings under the card in the link say:

An ability that triggers on an event that causes a creature to die doesn’t trigger twice. For example, an ability that triggers 'whenever you sacrifice a creature' triggers only once.

Teysa triggers when something is caused by a creature dying. Sacrificing a creature is not exactly the same as that creature dying. Sacrificing causes the creature to die, but Tysa doesn't trigger when an effect is caused by something that causes a creature to die, it triggers when an effect is caused by the death itself.

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